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An Airing

This morning
after a long time in the hole
they let me out
for a fifteen minute walk
into an empty corridor
littered with rusty cans
and bits of broken glass
An ‘official’ guarded the gate
while another
stood at the other side
with a rifle slung over his shoulder
All this for the sake
of a sick man
drained by two weeks of hunger strikes
But being watched like a wild beast
as though I were some gloomy horse
whose mildest movement should be distrusted
doesn’t affect me any more
I’m even aware that those men
eyeing my every step
might even be compassionate
or at least indifferent
it’s all a question of hunger and misery
There was a crazy-bright sun
and the sky was blue, so blue that when I looked up at it
I didn’t know where to turn my head
So I shut my eyes
and bathed my hands and my face
in that unsettling marriage of elements
then my heart resumed
its regular rhythm
hope’s harmonious flow

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About the translation:
» Read translator's notes
Abdellatif Laâbi
André Naffis-Sahely
Original language:
No.2 2015 - I WISH...


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